mjj (flemmings) wrote,

The Epicurean contemplates the varieties of pleasure

That is, there's a difference between the pleasure of buying books to read, and the pleasure of buying books to buy books. It helps if I keep that distinction in mind.

The pleasure of buying books to read, or finding the book you want to read, is that it's usually book singular. Last week I wanted to read some more Watch. I had no more Watch books to read. I went to Book City, went to the library, hit a variety of second hand book stores. In one of these (the first, actually) I found Thud. And was happy, and went home and started reading it.

There's a problem with this, though. I just finished Jingo. Thud is looking more of same- dark real-world reflecting issues. I want something fluffier for the moment.

Where is fluff to be found? Well, that second-hand bookstore over on Yonge (the other second hand bookstore, umadoshi) had a stack of Pratchetts, unlike a) all the other used bookstores- 'No, we don't get much Pratchett'- b) Book City, which only stocks recent stuff, and c) the public library which only keeps one or two copies in each branch and apparently nothing at all in mine, since it sold off the two I bought. (One of which was Night Watch, which makes me happy, because I like the hardcover spaciousness.) None of the six or eight books at the store looked like stuff I wanted- my first taste of Pratchett was Equal Rites, and that put me off Pratchett, so now anything with Granny Weatherwax is a no-thank-you and most of them were witch books. But still... Pratchett is Pratchett, and wheeere shall I find anooother? so off I go last night and buy me four of them and come home with a full backpack.

(This store used to be crammed with miscellaneous stuff, and if you couldn't find it at the shop down the street, chances were you'd find it there. They redecorated and the shelves are wider and emptier and filled with more acceptable authors than the ragtag that used to be there. There are boxes piled in the corners, presumably filled with old or new stock, but they haven't put it out. One indeed was marked 'for Good Will', which might in fact be where all the books are headed. I hope the owners would keep even a tattered copy of Mort or Maskerade, but I'm not sure. And of course I wanted to go riffling through all those boxes just to see what was there.)

Now here's the pleasure of buying in quantity, especially of something that's hard to find in quantity: I now have Lots. I have Lots of Pratchett for when I want to read Pratchett, as I have Lots of Aristotle Detective for when I want to read Aristotle Detective and Lots of Fruits Basket for when I want to read Fruits Basket, because you never know when you're going to want some Aristotle or Fruits Basket to read, so I buy them when I see them. I've had the one for a year and the lother for nearly two years and funniest damn thing, once I have the books I no longer feel the desire to read them. *This* is why I have untouched novels I bought in 1984 and manga I bought in 1997, sitting on the shelf and looking at me reproachfully.

The solution, I fancy, is to buy for other people. Back when we made Christmas lists of stuff we wanted, I was the one who offered to track down the books my sibs requested to save my parents the need of hitting half a dozen bookstores, good daughter that I was. I like finding books, end story. But it would help my wallet if I recalled that the buying-pleasure is best exercised on other people's behalf and not my own.

(There's borrowing, of course. Daughter of someone at work is a Pratchett fiend: has them all in dual editions, English and American. I bagged a hard-to-find one from her-- offered to wear gloves while reading it if she liked, because book collectors can get like that. She said it's OK, just don't break the spine- but it looks to me like a pristine paperback and now I'm scared to touch it.)
Tags: pratchett, reading, rl

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